Skip to main content

Significant increase in 'killing civilians' by BSF men in WB border districts: NHRC told

Counterview Desk 

Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission has alleged that a poor marginalized youth Bikash Debnath, of Cooch Behar district, West Bengal, died after Border Security Force (BSF) personnel's "continuous tortured him for three hours".
He say, "Incidents of killing civilians by the BSF force have significantly increased in the bordering districts of the state of West Bengal in the past few years. This case also adding the list of murders in BSF’s custody where the higher official and police administration with a nexus tries to save the perpetrators.

Text:

This is to bring to your kind attention an incident of brutal killing of a poor marginalized youth namely Bikash Debnath from Uttar Chamta village under Sitai Block and Police Station in the district of Cooch Behar, by the perpetrator BSF personnel attached with Battalion number 75 of Koimari border outpost.
The victim was forcefully apprehended by the perpetrators BSF on duty, and continuous tortured him for three hours. Later his body was recovered from Indo Bangladesh border side. It is a clear case of murder in custody of BSF on duty.
Sitai Police took the body of the victim to the Sitai Block Hospital where the victim was declared as brought dead. Without doing inquest, the dead body of the victim was taken to Sitai Police Station and there the inquest was done by one police person of Sitai Police Station and one executive magistrate which was violated section 174 and 176 (1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
There were several injury marks in the body of the deceased observed by the family members and eye witnesses. Even they observed scratch marks in the land where the victim was beaten to death by the BSF personnel.
On December 12, 2021 in the evening the family members lodged one written complaint to the Sitai Police Station against BSF for the death of the victim. The then on duty police officer took the written complaint but did not provide any received copy to the victim’s family. No case was registered by the Police on that time.
On the next day from the GR section we received the information that one case was registered by the police vide Sitai Polife Station case number 198/21 dated December 12, 2021 under section 302. But in the FIR copy police did not mention the details of the accused just only mentioned ‘unknown persons’. No signature or thumb impression of the complainant was received in the FIR copy. In the complaint copy attach with FIR there is no specific allegation against the BSF authority.
We have an apprehension that police with the nexus of BSF made a fabricated complaint and took the signature of Biseswar Debnath, elder brother of the victim who is also an illiterate person.
This violates section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and apex court guidelines in the case of Lalita Kumari vs State of Uttar Pradesh [WP (Crl) 68 of 2008] which clearly states that immediate registration of First Information Report is mandatory under section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and provide the copy of the FIR to the complainant free of cost.
As the police personnel of Sitai Police Station did not take any action in this respect, on January 17, 2022, Khageswar Debnath, father of the deceased sent one written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Cooch Behar.
Salient points in this case:
  • It is a case of death due to torture in custody of BSF under Battalion number 75 of Koimari Border Out Post.
  • Guidelines framed and circulated by NHRC in case of custodial death on March 27, 1997 was not followed by police personnel of Sitai Police Station and local civil administration.
  • Supreme Court of India in various cases, laid down norms to be followed in case of cognizable offence like custodial death; such as, immediate register of FIR, investigation by CID or police team of another police station led by a senior officer, etc. which was not followed here.
  • Why judicial Magistrate was not done the inquest of the victim as for custodial death any judicial magistrate should inquest the body?
  • Why the inquest was not done in the Sitai Block Hospital where the victim was declared dead?
  • Why the duty officer of the Sitai Police Station did not register the written complaint of the family members of the victim at first?
  • Why in the FIR copy police omitted the specific allegation of the BSF?
  • Till date place of incidents, witnesses, family members were not examined; scratch in the earth of the place of incidence, hair, fibbers were not collected.
  • The case of killing of human within Cooch Behar district is not only this one. Even under the Sitai Police Station jurisdiction area this is not a first killing done by BSF. In each case of killing, BSF and investigating police including civil administration nexus throttled the throat of criminal justice system.
  • This case manifests systematic impunity in our state of West Bengal.
It must be mentioned that incidents of killing civilians by the BSF have significantly increased in the bordering districts of the state of West Bengal in the past few years. This case also adding the list of murders in BSF’s custody where the higher official and police administration with a nexus tries to save the perpetrators.
The perpetrator BSF personnel not only violated the rights guaranteed in Article 21 of Indian Constitution but also the premise of Article 7 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Goal number 8 and 16 of Sustainable Development Goal earmarked by United Nations and in both these international instruments; the government of India is a party and have agreement.
The incident and subsequent impunity legitimize our long standing demand for immediate ratification of United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment.
Hence I seek your urgent intervention in this present complaint with the following demands of justice to the family of the victim:
  • BSF should be posted in actual border and not inside the villages.The whole incident must be investigated by a neutral agency appointed by the Commission.
  • This unlawful death should be properly investigated in line with Minnesota Protocol.
  • The unnatural death case initiated by Sitai Police Station on December 12, 2021 must be investigated properly under the appropriate legal provision.
  • The administration must take appropriate steps to control cross border smuggling in bordering villages.
  • The guilty BSF personnel involved in killing in custody must be booked and prosecuted in open court of law; not under in camera proceedings where accused, prosecutor and judge are brothers.
  • Disciplinary action should be initiated against the then on duty police personnel of Sitai Police Station who without doing the inquest in the place where the victim was declared dead, taking the victim’s dead body to the Sitai Police Station.
  • We have an apprehension that police with the nexus of BSF made fabricated the original written complaint of the victim’s family. Therefore, immediate steps to be taken to record the statements of the victim’s family members by one judicial magistrate under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • Police personnel involved in fabricating the victim’s complaint should be immediately charged with section 192 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code.
  •  The family of the victim must be duly compensated and security and safety of the witnesses and family members must be ensured.

Comments

TRENDING

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.